Every Friday, Attendee.com takes a look at some of the week’s best new albums from across the musical spectrum. Whether you need some tunes to unwind with after work or a hot track to play at a party … we’ve got you covered.

Kevin Abstract — “Ghettobaby” EP

If Brockhampton were a TV show, Kevin Abstract would be the indignant but charismatic lead. As the frontman of “The World’s Greatest Boy Band,” he’s been at the center of Brockhampton turbulent rise to hip-hop fame. The spotlight seemed to wear on him, as he noted in Brockhampton most recent record: “I’ll trade fame any day, for a quiet Texas place and a barbecue plate.” On his latest solo release since 2016’s “American Boyfriend,” Abstract reflects and ponders his Southern roots from his Los Angeles bungalow. The EP feels bipolar; the first couple tracks are cutthroat and dirty, while the last few tracks are pensive. “Big Wheels” sounds like a venomous outtake from an old demo. It’s production clean, but the vocals have dirt smeared on the perimeter of every syllable. “Joyride” is manic and funky, corny horns behind a driving beat and autotuned flow. On the other hand, “Baby Boy” and “Mississippi” are slow-burning R&B tracks that tell of the kind of genuine, existential dread of a young person. “Ghettobaby” is the kind of rap music that finds complexity in the emotional threads of its storytelling.

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Intellexual — “Intellexual”

Nico Segal has been our generation’s Carol Kaye. His trumpeting digits have touched everything from Frank Ocean’s digital album “U-N-I-T-Y” to Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam.” He was also Chance the Rapper’s right hand man during Chano’s rise to fame. However, Segal has since moved on from his A-list collaborators in favor of more lowkey projects. Hence, Intellexual. The self-titled album is a hodgepodge of sounds: “Sing It Louder” is a neo-soul journey along the coast of a summer city; “Overthinking” is a gorgeous, pitch-shifted folk ballad; “Shotty” is funky hip-hop that flips the 808 sound on its head. It’s the versatility that allows Segal and co-producer Nate Fox to meticulously examine every possible tone and hue. It’s an honest sound collage. Violins that sound straight out of “Baba O’Riley,” club beats that twist and turn with distorted vocals, fluttering Spanish guitar. To boot, they’re supported by a cast of up-and-comers (Knox Fortune, Jean Deaux) and millennial staples (Vic Mensa, Raury)to help them along their journey. This isn’t an album with a hit in mind and that’s totally fine. “Intellexual” is a passion project that pays off.

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Wand“Laughing Matter”

The problem with psychedelic rock is that when it’s translated into an LP,  the sound is either too deeply concentrated or ts sonic consistency is given too much space to float around in. This is not the case on Wand’s most record. Five entries into their discography, the LA-based rockers demonstrate precision where it counts but take time to flesh out their less lucid ideas. Songs like “Thin Air” or “Wonder” are great examples of this. Despite their cosmic complexities, every passage feels deliberate. Lead singer Corey Hanson’s subtle, Thom Yorke murmurs slink and swerve across the guitar landscapes; his voice is bundled into sweet limericks of hope and passivity. There’s still the patented distorted guitars and synths with playful echoes, but there’s so much clarity in this work. Conversely, songs like “High Planes Drifter” or “Evening Star” perform the canyon pieces in contrast with the album’s mighty valleys. You could characterize certain components of this album as folk. Tender, barebone guitar pickings accompanied by mesmerizing, Joni Mitchell-style melodies. “Even Star” could be the thesis of this record: We are both excited by psychedelia’s beauty and enthralled by its madness.   

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Emily Reo“Only You Can See It”

The ‘90s and ‘00s brought about a huge wave of sensitive but tough as nails female pop singers: Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Kate Nash, Feist, Regina Specktor. Emily Reo is reflected in this canon. Piano-pop that taps into the vast emotions of longing, uncertainty and what it means to be content: “When I’m alone smoking, in the woods my favourite spot looks out, tasting colours with my mouth, tongue-tied, subject of the lakeside.” However, like her predecessors, Reo is not one to take your bullshit. The albums most prominent track, “Strawberry,” is vintage aughts pop. Sparkly electronic flourishes, vocals empowered by post-production velocity, a pedantic drum machine. Despite having no sonic similarities to Fiona Apple, “Strawberry” has the same feminist potency: “I load into the show, you ask if I’m somebody’s girlfriend / Not seen as capable, just someone’s property.” Reo’s major label debut is endearing while also refusing to engage in any pleasantries.

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Patio“Essentials”

Stripped down, barbed wire post-punk is hardly a new style, but Patio’s freshman drop refuses to hide behind distortion or vague platitudes. As minimalist guitars cut across the mix, the Brooklyn trio deadpans the isolation of a depressive mood: “Never have the change to choose, naturely I always lose, I went shopping the other day, this week I can afford to feel better.” While “Essentials” displays the typical rigidness of postmodern, NYC punk roc, there is a thread of genuine care and concern that sounds like an older sister giving you advice about boys or which Sleater Kinney album to listen to. This comes out in the band’s vocal performances. Bassist Loren DiBlasi and guitarist Lindsey-Paige McCloy split vocals duties by combining the tonal contrasts of their deadpan deliveries. Some lines are spoken with cynical contempt, other times they are soothing and considerate. The instrumentation is striped down, so this sort of bare bones, oral performance is made transparent. The bass and drums support the tough truths that reach fruition in your late 20s. It’s the honesty of this record that makes it so palpable: “Sometimes I cry when I listen to classical music.
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Anticipations

Tame Impala — “Borderline”

 

Tame Impala graduated from a psych-rock niche when “Currents” dropped in the summer of 2015. Since then, they’ve become one of the most important rock bands in the world. They’ve remained impressively low-key outside of touring. They released one track back in 2018, but otherwise updates on new music were nil. That sentiment is what makes “Borderline” — the band’s second single since “Patience” — so endearing. It makes their return to the charts seem anticlimactic. That’s fine; the extravagant rock star is a pretty tired aesthetic anyway. Instead of going for a triumphant entrance, the band opts for more tranquil introduction to their (hopefully) forthcoming album. Seventies-style harpsichords, mellow synths and a flute reminiscence of Men At Work all dance in the background behind leader singer Kevin Parker’s soft croons. I wouldn’t worry too much about their sound changing too dramatically, but it’s good to see a band move in a different direction rather than recycling the same textures.

See tickets for Tame Impala here.

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Schoolboy Q Announces “CrasH Talk”

Former Black Hippy alum Schoolboy Q announced the release date for his next LP “CrasH Talk.” The announcement is proceded by the singles “Numb Numb Juice” and “CHopstix.” Q’s past two albums have been blistering rap albums that provide both dark commentary and ferocious club hits like “Collard Greens” and “THat Part.” “CrasH Talk” is out on April 26 via Interscope and will feature artists like Ty Dolla Sign, Travis Scott Kid Cudi, 21 Savage, 6lack and Lil Baby.

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